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When you get a new piercing, you are welcoming a foreign object into your body. Sometimes your body is not as welcoming as you are. It wants to push those objects out.

In the initial stages of rejection, your piercing will start moving toward the surface of your skin. Over time, your body will push the piercing to the surface, and your skin will crack open to let it out.

Piercing rejection is not very common as some other piercing complications, like infections and dermatitis. When rejection happens, it is usually in a flat area of the body. People experience rejection more commonly in the following types of piercings:

  • belly button
  • eyebrow
  • hip
  • surface piercings
  • nape

Keep reading on to learn about the symptoms of piercing rejection and how you can treat it.

Symptoms of piercing rejection

Following are some of the symptoms that you have a piercing rejection:

  • The jewelry has noticeably moved from its initial place.
  • The amount of tissue between the entrance and exit holes gets thinner (there should be at least a 1/4 inch of tissue between holes).
  • The entrance and exit holes expand.
  • The jewelry starts to hang differently.
  • The skin between the entrance and exit holes is:
  • peeling
  • inflamed
  • nearly transparent
  • calloused-looking or unusually hard


How to treat piercing rejection

You can get frustrated when your body rejects a piercing, but there is no complication other than scarring. The best thing to do is prevent the piece of jewelry from drifting through the surface of the skin. If the jewelry cracks open the surface of your skin, it will cause more damage, meaning more scar tissue. Excessive scar tissue in the piercing area makes re-piercing difficult.

Below are a few tips for dealing with migration and rejection:

  • If you notice your jewelry drifting toward the surface, take it out.
  • Try new jewelry in a different shape, size, gauge, or material.
  • Try a nonirritating plastic ring or bar.
  • Talk to an experienced piercer for advice.
  • Wait about a year before re-piercing.
  • Try a larger piece of jewelry
  • Apply a topical vitamin E oil to reduce scar’s appearance

If you have any questions, feel free to contact our health care experts.

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